Monthly Archives: November 2013

Otto von Guericke and the Horror of Vacuum

Otto von Guericke and the Horror of Vacuum

Caspar Schott’s illustation of the vacuum experiment On November 30, 1602, German scientist, inventor, and politician Otto von Guericke was born. One of his major scientific achievements was the establishment of the physics of vacuums, which he gave proof of in a very famous public experiment. Otto von Guericke enrolled at the University of Leipzig in 1617 and continued his studies in law and engineering later on in Helmstedt, Jena,…
C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia

C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) On November 29, 1898, English novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist Clive Staples Lewis aka C.S. Lewis was born. He was a close friend of J.R.R. Tolkien and is best known for his fictional work, especially The Chronicles of Narnia. Actually, since his childhood days, was was usually referred to as ‘Jack’ and not ‘Clive’. Clive Staples Lewis was born…
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge

The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge

Burlington House, where the Royal Society was based between 1873 and 1967 On November 28, 1660, at Gresham College, London, UK, 12 men, including Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, and Sir Robert Moray decide to found what is later known as the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, a learned society for science, and possibly the oldest such society still in existence. It is said that everything…
Georg Forster – Naturalist and Revolutionary

Georg Forster – Naturalist and Revolutionary

Forster and his father at Tahiti On November 27, 1754, German naturalist, ethnologist, travel writer, journalist, and revolutionary Georg Forster was born. At an early age, he accompanied his father on several scientific expeditions, including James Cook‘s second voyage to the Pacific. His most famous work ‘A Voyage Round the World’ is considered as the beginning of modern scientific travel literature, which also made him a member of the famous…
Ferdinand de Saussure and the Study of Language

Ferdinand de Saussure and the Study of Language

Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) On November 26, 1857, Swiss linguist and semiotician Ferdinand de Saussure was born. His ideas laid the foundation for many significant developments both in linguistics and semiotics in the 20th century. Moreover, de Saussure is widely considered one of the fathers of 20th-century linguistics and together with Charles Sanders Peirceone of two major fathers of semiotics. Ferdinand de Saussure enrolled at the University of Geneva and started…
Andrew Carnegie – Steel Tycoon and Philanthropist

Andrew Carnegie – Steel Tycoon and Philanthropist

Andrew Carnegie(1835 – 1919) On November 25, 1835, Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie was born. He led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century and was also one of the highest profile philanthropists of his era. Expecting a better life, Andrew Carnegie’s family decided to leave Scotland and move to the United States in 1848. Carnegie started working at the age of 13…
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – A Giant in Art

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – A Giant in Art

On November 24, 1864, French painter, printmaker, draughtsman and illustrator Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was born. Toulouse-Lautrec – along with Cézanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin – is among the most well-known painters of the Post-Impressionist period. Although you might not be interested in art, for sure you will have heard about Henri Toulouse-Lautrec or you might have seen one of his paintings or famous posters. His artwork about the Fin de Siècle…
Johannes van der Waals –  A Pioneer in the Molecular Sciences

Johannes van der Waals – A Pioneer in the Molecular Sciences

Johannes Diderkik van der Waals(1837 – 1923) On November 23, 1837 Dutch theoretical physicist and Nobel Laureate Johannes Diderik van der Waals was born. He is best known for his work on an equation of state for gases and liquids. Johannes Diderik van der Waals was the son of a carpenter and could only receive ‘advanced primary education’, which would later on not be enough to actually enroll at a…
Martin Frobisher and the Northwest Passage

Martin Frobisher and the Northwest Passage

Martin Frobisher(ca 1539 – 1594) On November 22, 1594, English seaman and explorer Sir Martin Frobisher passed away. He is best known for his three voyages to the New World to look for the Northwest Passage. In 1544, Martin Frobisher went to sea the first time and was captured about ten years later by a Portugese crew. In the 1560s, he decided to undertake a journey searching for the Northwest…
Ceci n’est-ce pas une Pipe

Ceci n’est-ce pas une Pipe

Rene Magritte: La trahison des images (1928/29), source: wikipedia On November 21, 1898, Belgian surrealist artist Rene Magritte was born. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images that fall under the umbrella of surrealism. His paintings have become student poster classics and his work challenges observers’ preconditioned perceptions of reality. I really like the paintings of Rene Magritte and I always refer to that special…
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